#FridayReads – January Week 1

Well here we are again! Our first #FridayReads blog of the new year! In the last couple of blogs, we chatted a lot about resolutions, goals, and things we want to try out in the new year. When it comes to goals in reading, I think my dedication to accumulating an endless pile of “to be read” books will continue at a cheetah-like quickness. Really, in the nerd world it’s equivalent to a fashionista opening their closet and sobbing, “I have nothing to wear!” #thestruggleisreal

As far as how many books I’d like to read for the year, I have never quite given that any thought. I read voraciously and there are months when I can read 6 or more books. But it’s not about numbers. It’s about finding a book that consumes me. That book that, literally, I pick up at every available moment. So when I found the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I thought it was a perfect way to not only get better at using my Goodreads iPhone app, but it’s a way to have fun while actively challenging myself to read more. If you haven’t signed up for BookBub YOU NEED TO DO IT RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND. I’ll wait right here….

There are a lot of ways you can get yourself reading this year. Find a book buddy! Get your kids involved and challenge them to read some new books, too. Each book is a new adventure… a new world to step into… a chance to live a life as someone we might never have imagined. However many books you read, you will be a better person for it. I signed myself up for 24 books this year. What about you??

For today’s #FridayReads, I decided to share 6 books on my endless to-read list:

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, by Beth Hoffman

Twelve-year old CeeCee is in trouble. For years she’s been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille- the crown-wearing, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town. Though it’s 1967 and they live in Ohio, Camille believes it’s 1951 and she’s just been crowned the Vidalia Onion Queen of Georgia. The day CeeCee discovers Camille in the front yard wearing a tattered prom dress and tiara as she blows kisses to passing motorists, she knows her mother has completely flipped. When tragedy strikes, Tootie Caldwell, a previously unknown great-aunt comes to CeeCee’s rescue and whisks her away to Savannah. Within hours of her arrival, CeeCEe is catapulted into a perfumed world of prosperity and southern eccentricities- a world that appears to be run entirely by women. While Tootie is busy saving Savannah’s endangered historic homes from the wrecking ball, CeeCee encounters a cast of unforgettable, eccentric characters. From the mysterious Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in an outdoor tub under the watchful eyes of a voyeuristic peacock, to Oletta Jones, the all-knowing household cook, to Violene Hobbs, the loudmouthed widow who entertains the local police officer in her yellow see-through peignoir. The women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer. But CeeCee’s view of the world is challenged in ways she could have never imagined: there are secrets to keep, injustices to face, and loyalties to uphold.

The Boy and What Might Have Been, by Russell Newell

At a time before Amber Alerts and America’s Most Wanted, missing children on milk cartons and DNA forensics, on Christmas Day 1977, the little boy of the premier mutual fund manager in America disappears. Thus begins Gus Delaney’s long journey to find his son and discover what happened. Was he kidnapped? Is he still alive? Is his ex-wife involved? When the police begin to suspect Gus, he loses everything and descends from the pinnacles of success, where the world adores him, to a private hell on Earth, abandoned and alone. Meanwhile, Jack Delaney is brought into a bewildering world by strange people who tell him he has been chosen and must forget about his old life. Isolated from the outside world, Jack learns to forget about a father he believes stopped looking for him long ago, until unfamiliar, forbidden feelings and the revelation of a dark secret causes him to question everything he once believed.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, by Fredrick Backman and Henning Koch

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.
When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

Lily and the Octopus, by Steven Rowley

Edward is 42 years old. His screenwriting career is stalled. He’s gay and lives in Los Angeles, where being 40 and stuck can be especially uncomfortable. He has a best friend, Trent, who knows when to order him a martini and offer a Valium chaser. He has a therapist he doesn’t much care for. He has an ex-boyfriend, Jeffrey. He has a mother whose concerned phone calls don’t assuage his sense of not being loved enough by her. He has 12-year-old Lily. This is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without. For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule–but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

The Kindness of Strangers, by Mike McIntyre

Stuck in a job he no longer found fulfilling, journalist Mike McIntyre felt his life was quickly passing him by. So one day he hit the road to trek from one end of the country to the other with little more than the clothes on his back and without a single penny in his pocket.

Through his travels, he found varying degrees of kindness in strangers from all walks of life — and discovered more about people and values and life on the road in America than he’d ever thought possible.

The gifts of food and shelter he received along the way were outweighed only by the touching gifts of the heart — the willingness of many he met to welcome a lonely stranger into their homes… and the discovery that sometimes those who give the most are the ones with the least to spare.

Happy Reading!
~ AP